Few things can bring us as much relief as the moments we figure out another woman struggles with some of the exact same things we do. It's not a misery-loves-company landmine as much as it is the revelation that we, in our often chaotic worlds, are not the only ones who don't have it all together.
Recently I was able to soothe the conscience of a hard-working mom when she discovered that my serving-dish cabinet also housed a crushed Christmas ornament, a travel coffee mug (I was so glad she found that!), an infant hat (I no longer have any infants in my home), various out-grown toys, random fall decorations, and an array of gift bags and non-matching stacks (wads) of tissue paper. In other words, my cabinets are messy.
This is the kind of revelation we don't lay out on the table in the early, superficial stages of female relationship building. "Hi, I'm Amy. My cabinets are out of my control. It's so nice to meet you!"
Although, if you would humor me, what a relief it would be if it were socially acceptable to provide a sampling of our dysfunction from the start:
"Hi, I'm Amy. You should know I'm obsessive about laundry but my carpets need to be replaced. I have not one, not two, but three categorically defined junk drawers in my kitchen. I wish my kids would eat more veggies, but some nights I'm just glad they are willing to eat my poor excuses for a meal. If I come to your home for an overnight visit, I probably won't step on your bathmats with bare feet. I typically follow up any good workout with chocolate. I'm terrible at small talk and usually say something awkward instead, but when I ask you how you are, I really want to know. Oh, and just this weekend after church, I had the overwhelming urge to drink a margarita. I didn't do it, but that had more to do with access than intention."
I realize I'm not going to start any new trends, and I suspect even now you are resisting the urge to CLICK AWAY, which is the blog-reader's version of running for the hills. The more palatable path is to slowly test the waters with our truths, letting them leak out a little here and there to see how others in our life will react. If they seem to connect, or at least handle our truth with grace, then we feel safer to reveal a little more. And we celebrate like we have won the female friendship jackpot when we get the occasional "YOU, too?" reaction to something we inwardly cringed to share.
It should be easier and less painful to connect with each other. Whether my struggles with imperfections (sins) are the same as yours or not, we share the painful, funny, frustrating, and exhilarating experiences of what it takes to be sincere followers of Jesus in a world that demands immediate results. Some days just go better than others. But we get up every day and by the grace and power of Jesus, try again.
My challenge to you this week is to be a safe place for someone to eek out a bit of their crazy. Connect with them and reassure them we serve a savior who was tailor-made by the God of the universe just for them. Not for their perfections, but for the redemption of their imperfections.
And, just for fun, I would love for you to introduce yourself in the comments and share something of yourself like I did above. If your cabinets are messy or your marriage is a mess, please know you will be prayed for.